Friday, January 9, 2015

What Not to Say to Someone Who is Suffering or Hurting

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.  - Colossians 4:6

I was inspired to write the following after reading an article in “Psychology Today.” My illness has made me the recipient of potentially harmful advice from well intended people. I thank God that I love to read and mediated on the pages of God’s Word, therefore, I am at a place where I know what to receive and what to disregard.  As  Christians, we are called to serve others. We must be helpers and not hurters to those who seek our help. Consider the following:

What Not to Say to Someone Who is Suffering or Hurting

“I know how you feel.” – You may have been through a similar situation, but you cannot get into the mind of the person you are helping. We all process pain differently. You don’t know how another person feel emotional, physically, or spiritually.

“You are not going to die. You will be okay.” – Dying is not a bad thing. The Bible says to die is gain. Victory can come through death. Don’t offer false hope for the sake of encouragement. You don’t know how God will work in someone’s life. Don’t suggest you have fate all figured out.

“If you need anything give me a call.” Most of us have probably been guilty of saying this someone in need. The statement is vague and places the burden of effort on an already burdened person. Instead, be specific. Ask questions like 1) When can I bring over a meal? 2) When can I come over to clean the house? 3) What items do you need that I can purchase to help with your life?
“You Know Your (insert family member) Loves You.” – Don’t project your healthy family experience onto others. There are adults who are products of abusive and unloving parents. This statement could be enraging.